7 Movies That Proved Critics Wrong

Most of the time (not all of the time), audiences and critics can spot crap at movie theaters easily. To paraphrase Potter Stewart: a bad movie may be hard to define, but you know it when you see it. And that initial verdict has a tendency to stick. Wooden dialogue, a poor actor, or an incompetent director will not, with the passage of time, become magically better. Of course, there are some bad movies become ironically beloved, or fall into that self-aware “so bad it’s good” territory.

However, there’s a smaller group of movies that are too ahead of their time—too radical, groundbreaking, and weird—and are panned at the time of their release. They have since been critically rehabilitated and rediscovered, as public tastes have matured and changed.

Here are 7 great movies that were originally misunderstood, but were later rediscovered and rehabilitated. If you like this gallery, check out our look at Samuel L. Jackson’s greatest performances, as well as our ranking of M. Night Shyamalan’s twists. Shyamalan’s newest movie, Glass, is out now in theaters.

7. Fantasia (1940)

Fantasia was Walt Disney’s pet project. He envisioned it as an ongoing, ever-changing experience, where classical music would be matched to animated sequences; as time went on, the best sequences would be retained, and new ones would be added. But the project never got off the ground, because the first film flopped so terribly. In the ’60s it was rediscovered as a mind-expanding art film, when the hippie culture embraced its bright, swirling colors. Another attempt at restarting the Fantasia project took place in in 1999, when the Disney company released Fantasia 2000. It also performed poorly.

6. Psycho (1960)

Psycho is Hitchcock’s most well-known film. At the time of its release, though, it was seen as second-rate, low class and vulgar. The Oedipal overtones between Mrs. Bates and Norman freaked audiences out, and the shower scene, which reads on a more figurative level as a sexual assault, violated critics’ sensibilities. But modern audiences are more desensitized. And the once-derided shower scene is now seen as a master class in filmmaking: 52 cuts were edited together to create the impression of violence, even though the knife’s blade never once touches Janet Leigh’s skin.

5. The Shining (1980)

When Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining came out in 1980, it received mixed reviews. Jack Nicholson, who had previously played an insane person in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, was criticized as typecast. Shelley Duvall, who played his wife, was derided as shrill and unsympathetic. And Stephen King, who wrote the original novel, famously disliked the movie; he felt it was extremely well-made, but lacked any warmth or heart at its core. But popular culture has been kind to The Shining. So many scenes have been paid tribute to and parodied in the years since. The blood spilling out of the elevator. The twins in the hallway. And of course, the indelible image of Jack axing his way through the door, yelling “Heeere’s Johnny!” as he tries to REDRUM his wife.

4. Blade Runner (1982)

Blade Runner was a forerunner of the cyberpunk genre; its moody neon lighting and slow pace has influenced scores of science fiction films that came after it. So it’s hard to believe that at the time of its release, the film didn’t make back its budget and split critics down the middle. Some of this has to do with timing. Lead actor Harrison Ford was fresh off playing Han Solo in Star Wars, and audiences expected something different than what they got. But critical opinion has since changed, and filmmaker Ridley Scott has gone back and recut the film several times to get it closer to his original vision. A sequel, Blade Runner 2049, was released in 2017.

3. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

Unapologetically ultraviolent, cynical, and anarchist, Fight Club is a misunderstood satire. It divided critics who felt that its message was mixed and endorsed the very violence it was parodying. It failed at the box office as well. But years later, it’s seen as a prescient commentary on modern consumerism, and the complexity of embracing one’s masculinity in the modern age.

2. Fight Club (1999)

1. Unbreakable (2000)

Any director is lucky to have a massive, critical darling like The Sixth Sense in his ouveure. But, for M. Night Shyamalan, it has been a critical millstone around his neck; it’s the film that he can never top. Unbreakable had the misfortune of being his follow-up film to the Sixth Sense. It also missed the massive superhero boom by a couple years, and was instead marketed as a dramatic thriller. Time has redeemed Shyamalan; the production and success of Split, and the release of Glass, bear that out.

History Channel Has Lost Its Damned Mind With New Series Knight Fight, And We Love It

History Channel has ventured into the world of reality competition shows, and thus far, they’ve all been a lot of fun. Forged in Fire has weaponeers forging their own weapons. Knife or Death–hosted by WWE Hall of Famer Goldberg–puts bladesmith’s weapons through a rigerous gauntlet to test its durability. And now, Knight Fight–hosted by WWE’s Jay “Christian” Reso–has competitors in full armor fighting each other with actual weapons.

On the surface, the idea of armored warriors fighting each other is exceptionally appealing, until you start asking yourself, “How do they do this without killing each other?” According to one of the show’s judges and host, Reso, it’s all pretty safe. “Most of them are from a league called, The Armor Combat League,” Reso told GameSpot. “And they do have their own armor that they feel comfortable in and they do have a tendency to lean towards certain weapons, like all the weapons that are used in the show itself, are blunted, but they’re full size, scale, everything of the originals.”

The show itself seems like a crazy idea, but even considering everything is about as safe as you can make it, Knight Fight is still a wild concept for a series. The first promo for the show, which you can see below, lean heavy towards non-stop action.

“It’s got a little bit of everything in it,” continued Reso. “Action and obviously, with the interviews and stuff that we do with the Knights themselves, the competitors. Their personalities shine through in that, of course you have different personalities and different sized of each competitor, which also makes it interesting.”

While these real-life knights are beating the hell out of each other in battle, one thing Reso found compelling was how they treated each other after each round. “The thing was the camaraderie to me that the guys had. I mean, they’re in there dealing out punishment and taking punishment, in between rounds they’re kind of shouting over to one each other from across the ring asking, as in, ‘Hey, good round?’ or, ‘You okay?’ or things like that. The sportsmanship, the camaraderie is what kind of, like you said, the brutality of it and the action and how much each competitor wanted to win, but at the end of it, they were all shaking hands, patting each other on the back and making sure they were all right.”

The winners will combat each other every week until there’s only one knight standing for the season finale, and they’ll go home with $10,000 and a championship belt. You can watch the madness unfold for yourself when Knight Fight comes to History Channel on Wednesday, January 23 at 10 PM ET / PT.

Three Xbox One Games Are Free To Play This Weekend

If you’re looking for something new to play on Xbox One–and you have an Xbox Live Gold subscription–then you’re in luck. As part of its next Free Play Days promotion, Microsoft is giving Gold members a chance to try out three titles at no charge this weekend.

From now through January 20, Gold subscribers can download and play Override: Mech City Brawl, Metro 2033 Redux, and Metro: Last Light Redux for free. You’ll have full access to each throughout the trial period, and you can keep your Gamerscore and any achievements you earn if you decide to pick the titles up after the free weekend ends.

To jump into the games, simply download them from the Gold member area on your Xbox One’s dashboard. Each is also discounted as part of this week’s Xbox One game sale, so you can pick them up for cheap if you’re interested in continuing your adventures. The sale prices will be available through January 21.

Microsoft regularly offers free weekends for select games through its Free Play Days promotion. Last weekend, Xbox Live Gold members could download and play Halo 5: Guardians at no charge. Subscriptions cost $10 for one month, $25 for three months, and $60 for one year.

The free play weekend is a good opportunity to revisit Metro 2033 and Last Light, as the next installment in the series, Metro Exodus, is set to launch on February 15–a week earlier than originally scheduled. Unlike its predecessors, Exodus features some large, sandbox-like environments, although we thought the game feels best when it sticks to its roots.

Black Ops 4 Blackout Free Trial, New Limited-Time Mode Now Live

Players who have yet to pick up a copy of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 can now try its Blackout mode for free. Treyarch’s limited-time Blackout trial has begun on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, allowing you jump into the hectic battle royale mode at no charge.

The free trial runs until 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET / 6 PM GMT on January 24. To participate, you’ll need to download the Blackout trial client from either Battle.net on PC or your console’s respective digital store. PS4 players aren’t required to have a PlayStation Plus subscription, but Xbox One owners will need an Xbox Live Gold membership, while those playing on PC will need a free Battle.net account.

The trial gives you full access to all the content in Blackout mode. You’ll also earn Echelon progression while playing and unlock Black Market Tiers and loot. If you decide to purchase the title after the trial ends, any progress you’ve made during the free period will carry over to the full game. You can read more details about the free trial on Reddit.

If you’re interested in Blackout but don’t particularly care for Black Ops 4’s other modes, Activision is selling a $40 version of the game on PC that strips out Zombies and only includes Blackout and multiplayer. Like the trial client, this is only available through Battle.net.

Coinciding with the free trial, Treyarch has kicked off a new limited-time mode in Blackout, dubbed Down But Not Out. In this quad mode, any downed players will be able to rejoin the battle with each Collapse as long as at least one member of the team remains in the game. The mode is live now on PS4 and will come to Xbox One and PC at a later date.

Star Wars Episode 9: John Boyega Teases Something “Visually Crazy”

Star Wars: Episode IX is filming right now, and actor John Boyega–who plays Finn–has teased something “visually crazy” for the much-anticipated sci-fi film.

Boyega shared a cryptic image on his Instagram page of his distressed hands after a day of shooting. The caption of the image reads, “The whole team pushed themselves today to achieve something visually crazy! I’ve had many moments of shock on set but not like today and I can’t wait until you know why.”

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Great working day on set!! The whole team pushed themselves today to achieve something visually crazy! I’ve had many moments of shock on set but not like today and I can’t wait until you know why 👀🙌🏾 #FN2187

A post shared by John Boyega (@johnboyega) on

It’s intriguing to think about what Boyega might be referring to. The Star Wars franchise is known for its spectacle over-the-top sequences, and we can only imagine what Episode IX will deliver in this department.

Episode IX hits theatres this December. It is the third and final instalment in the new trilogy that started with 2015’s The Force Awakens. The movie was set to be directed by Jurassic World’s Colin Trevorrow, but he was fired and replaced by JJ Abrams, who directed The Force Awakens.

Lost and Lord of the Rings actor Dominic Monaghan will play an unspecified role in Episode XI.

In other Star Wars news, EA has reportedly canceled a new open-world Star Wars game in development at EA Vancouver. However, the company says it remains “fully committed” to making more Star Wars games in the future.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice’s Protagonist Will Actually Speak

From Software has revealed that its changing how it tells stories when it comes to Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. The contrast of beauty against death will still be present in its narrative, but Sekiro will be about a specific character with his own backstory as opposed to a nameless, blank slate protagonist like in previous Soulsborne games.

“We’re trying to tell more of a drama, if you will, of these characters,” From Software marketing and communications manager Yasuhiro Kitao said to Game Informer in an interview. Sekiro follows the changing relationship between Young Lord and his guardian The Wolf, the latter of which you play as. In the beginning of the game’s story, the two are attacked and Young Lord is kidnapped while The Wolf is left defeated with his arm cut off. Upon awakening, The Wolf receives his prosthetic arm and then sets out on a quest to find Young Lord and defeat those responsible for the assault.

On his journey, The Wolf will meet other characters, but unlike previous From Software games where the protagonist wordlessly responds to others, The Wolf will actually speak to people. He is his own person, with his own thoughts, feelings, and sense of morality. In turn, having a character with an established backstory has allowed From Software to implement storytelling techniques that are absent from past Soulsborne titles, such as flashback sequences.

All that said, From Software doesn’t want to take away from players who love theorizing about the lore of Soulsborne games. Even though The Wolf has an established past, the history of the world he lives in–as well as the enemies, bosses, and some of the characters he meets–are fragmented. It’ll be up to you to piece together exactly what happened prior to the game’s events.

In Sekiro, From Software is breaking plenty of other conventions it’s established with its past Soulsborne games. One of the most notable changes is in how boss battles play out, as Sekiro’s expanded traversal mechanics–such as stealth, parkour, and a grappling hook–allow for more unique encounters. Sekiro also won’t have an online multiplayer, so From Software has designed the game to allow players to actually pause the action wherever they are. Unlike Dark Souls III and Bloodborne, Sekiro will have a hub area that’s connected to its world, allowing for more opportunities to freely explore.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice releases for Xbox One, PS4, and PC on March 22.